Commentary

Taking This Year's NAB Personally

  

As I pack my bags for this year's NAB show and head to Vegas, I have a mental checklist of some of the tracks I want to check out.

I would love to hear the keynote by Sony's Hiroshi Yoshioka, about the global demand for 3D technology and timetable for mainstream adoption, and I'm sure inventor Ray Kurzweil will have an interesting perspective on the future of technology. With both, I'll be anxious to hear them talk about something near and dear to me: how the law of accelerating returns and the exponential growth of information technology are accelerating opportunities for innovation and enabling the creation of new business models to transform our fascinating industry.

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With all the presentations, I'm hopeful that we can get beyond the latest buzzwords and techno-shiny objects that so often distract us from the real opportunities that face us.  After all, we're in an industry that entertains, educates, and brings joy to millions.  Our greatest opportunity is to find increasingly creative -- and revenue-generating -- ways to personalize that joy, to package it in a way that the consumer feels was built just for them.  Personalization drives improved monetization, and the continued expansion of personal viewing devices, like the iPad, gives us all yet one more channel through which to deliver a truly tailored user experience.

I hope that as an industry, we can harness technology for consumer benefit, rather than allow ourselves to become absorbed by the technology for its own sake. For example, I think the iPad has incredible potential, and I'd like to see us talking about how to deliver the most robust, personalized, monetized experience on that new platform. All the transcoding in the world doesn't matter unless you can monetize iPad content, and ultimately drive revenue. You do that by knowing as much as you can about the content being displayed and what the user is most interested in.  With that knowledge you can serve up ads in context and maximize revenue potential. 

As for 3DTV, the noise level has been deafening since CES. Based on recent trends in ticket sales, it is clear there's a real appetite for 3-D video content. It's great to see that consumers want a richer video experience.  Enabling the delivery of that content and more and more devices could drive an entirely new wave of revenue across our industry's ecosystem. Here, too, I am hopeful that we can stay true to our focus on ensuring that this new content is delivered in the most personalized way to consumers across all platforms.

I'm hopeful that the discussion across all panels at NAB will complement technology innovation with business model exploration.  Content and technology partners alike have a great opportunity to shape the way our industry creates, distributes, and monetizes the most valuable content on the planet.

In Sin City this week, I hope the video industry can talk about how we can personalize viewer experiences, build audience, and increase our value proposition. Let's leave behind the alphabet soup of technology terms, if only for a week.

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